Archive for July, 2008

Clash Of the Titans

Thursday, July 31st, 2008 | News, Reviews | No Comments
Clash Of the Titans

This new documentary released as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival takes a look at the Wellington live hip hop scene, as rappers declare verbal warfare to become champion battle MC. Shot over eight consecutive evenings during December 2006 it follows events as reigning champion Juse1 takes on his competitors who are mostly Wellington based but also include RuggedTek, a Drum n Bass MC from London, and Raysa from Johannesburg.

Clash of the Titans – short introduction

Independently produced and directed by Will Moore, the film had its world premier in New Zealand’s capital on 25 July. Moore, who is described in promotional literature as a long time hip hop supporter, believes that Clash of The Titans was “the first real Wellington hip hop story, driven by inspiration and passion rather than corporate branding. The lens has captured a freedom of expression”. The movie has a mixture of live free-style footage and behind the scenes interviews with some of the battling MCs including Lyrix, Ladysouljah, Rogue, Poetic and Xhale. I haven’t seen the film myself so can’t give any opinion or criticism, but you can check out some preview clips online to judge for yourself.

…Yossarian

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The Black Seeds 4th album – “Solid Ground”

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008 | News | 1 Comment
The Black Seeds 4th album -

The Black Seeds are set to release “Solid Ground”, their fourth studio album on August 11in New Zealand and across Europe. Recorded at “The Surgery” in Wellington NZ, ‘Solid Ground’ was again recorded by Dr Lee Pebbles and produced by Black Seeds Guitarist Mike Fabulous. Forming in1998, The Black Seeds first made their way into our heart and headphones with “Keep on Pushing”, introducing a style of tamed energy before unheard of in wee New Zealand. As the years have passed, The Black Seeds have continued to treat us to their modernised reggae, funk, dub mix with ‘On The Sun’ and ‘Pushed’ in 2003, ‘Into The Dojo’ in 2006, and now ‘Solid Ground’ in 2008.


The Black Seeds – Keep on Pushing

Currently playing concerts and festivals throughout Europe in countries including England, Scotland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, France, with artists including Radiohead, Steven Marley, Jay-Z, & Groove Armada, the group return home to Wellington mid August only to announce their subsequent Australian and American tours.

What a life it must be…

you can check out more of The Black Seeds at:

www.theblackseeds.com

www.myspace.com/theblackseeds

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Amsterdams newest addiction

Friday, July 25th, 2008 | News | 1 Comment
Amsterdams newest addiction

With the amount of projects, tours and festivals Pete Philly and Perquisite have been bumpin’ lately, it’s no wonder they are the new drug of choice in the pleasure capital of the world. Their new single which they named their second album after “Mystery Repeats”, was released in Europe this month including a remix by Tony Shift and 4 exclusive live theatre versions (You can download the single on iTunes). ‘Mystery Repeats’, the album, has been nominated in Pete and Perqusites home country, The Netherlands, for the ‘3voor12 Award’! The award, which will be given out by ‘3voor12′ on September 4th, goes out every year to the best album of that year, according to the voters on the 3voor12 website, fans can vote for them at: www.3voor12.nl!

In 2008 for the 3rd year in a row, Pete Philly and Perquisite have been selected to play at their favourite festival ‘Lowlands’. As well as this they are one of 3 of this year’s winners of the dutch award “Amsterdamprijs’!”. The other two winners are architect Marlies Rohmer and video artist Julika Rudelius. The award, which is the most important art award of the city, goes out every year to those artists who contributed in a special way to the arts and to putting Amsterdam on the map. It’s the first time that a hip hop group receives the award which, besides the honour, consists of a very nice sum of money.

Somehow in amongst all of these projects Pete Philly and Perquisite have just recently returned from Japan playing concerts as well as filming the video clip for recently released single ‘Empire’.


Pete Philly and Perquisite – Empire

The next year doesn’t seem to be looking much different for two of the worlds hardest working musicians playing at Mundial (Netherlands), Summerjam (Germany), Splash (Germany), Exit (Serbia), North Sea Jazz (Netherlands), Gurten (Germany), Nuke (Austria), HipHop Open (Germany), Open Air Lumnezia (Switzerland) and Sziget (Hungary) just to name a few.  In February, finally, they come over to tour Australia and New Zealand, brought to you by none other then The Very Good Agency. There’s some interesting collaborations the guys are working on with artists from Australasia too, so all you Aussie’s and kiwi’s who are fans… your in for some awesome crossovers with artists we’ve grown up listening, only with a funky hip hop and jazz twist.

you can, and definitely should, check out more of Pete Philly and Perquisite at:

www.petephillyandperquisite.com

www.myspace.com/petephillyandperquisite

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Ya Heard? Mayday!

Thursday, July 24th, 2008 | News | No Comments
Ya Heard? Mayday!

Welcome to the first installment of “Ya Heard?”, a weekly look into music that you may not but definately should have heard. Each week we’ll look at an album or two that you might not have heard before. There is an absolute multitude of hip hop, jazz, funk and soul out there, often meaning you have to wade through the crap to find the gems. Hopefully this little piece will save you from that process. This week we look at Mayday!, and the Michael Jackson inspired mixtape from Mark Ronson and Rhymefest.

Hailing from Miami, Florida, Mayday! bring it all on their debut self-titled album. Mayday! are essentially a live band made up of MC Bernbiz, keyboardist/producer Plex Luthor, bass guitarist Primo and DJ/perccusionist Gio. They’re known for their energetic live shows in the Miami area, and the overnight sensation that their video for “Groundhog Day” created on youtube (over two million views in the first two days!!).

if you’re interested, there’s an article here that featured in the New York Times about the overnight youtube sensation they created.

Plex Luthor creates their sound utilising synths, infectious keyboard loops, rockin old-school beats and some funky samples, resulting in a fusion of upbeat lyric-driven hip hop fused with rock and a touch of the electronic. And Bernbiz slays it on the mic, particularly on standout tracks ‘Chasing Ghosts’, ‘Watchin Me’ and, of course, ‘Groundhog Day’, where he is joined by Cee-Lo, of Gnarls Barkley fame, and DMC legend DJ Craze. The album is very much a mixture of styles, jumping from the insanely catchy and infectious ‘Groundhog Day’, to the chilled vibe of ‘Nothin’, which features Devin the Dude.


MAYDAY! featuring Cee-Lo & DJ Craze

I came across this album completely by accident, while actually browsing Drum n Bass albums. The album cover had a sticker on it that said it would appeal to fan’s of Outkast, Gnarls Barkley, A Tribe Callled Quest and The Gorillaz, something that instantly appealed to me. After just a quick listen I knew exactly what the sticker meant and I bought it on the spot. Its become one of my all-time favourites, and remains on high rotation to this day, nearly a year and a half later.

Check out more tracks on their myspace at:

www.myspace.com/firstdayofmay

Ya Heard?

The next album that should be brought to you’re attention can actually be downloaded for free! Its essentially a mixtape, and a highly entertaining one at that.

British producer Mark Ronson, known for his work with Amy Winehouse, has teamed up with up-and-coming Chicago Rapper, Rhymefest, to make a tribute album to his pop idol; Michael Jackson.

Due to the obvious issues surrounding clearing samples taken from MJ’s work, ‘Fest and Ronson had no option but to release this for free. And there certainly is a lot of material sampled here; Ronson uses outtakes from Jacko’s original studio sessions to create banter between the albums two hosts, with priceless results.The album is built on earlier Jackson solo material, as well as stuff from the Jackson 5 era, and includes the obvious Jacko hits such as “Billy Jean”, “Thriller”, “ABC”, and “I Want You Back”.

The album starts of with MJ beatboxing and Rhymefest rapping overtop, before escalating into a full on funk hip hop cresendo which launches into the first track, ‘Can’t make it’. The second track, ‘Get up’ is one of my favourites; featuring Wale, the two MCs trade verses with effortless flow over a banging uptempo beat, and then mixing straight into ‘Dancin Machine’, in which ‘Fest effortlessly rides the song’s massively funky opening horn section and let’s the Jackson 5 rock their original hook.

Already well impressed with the state of the album so far, I was stoked to find that the quality continued, with the next track, ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’ featuring Talib Kweli being one of the albums best. Ronson steps up with production duties on ‘Foolin’ Around’, where ‘Fest rhymes about the in’s-and-out’s of cheating over a simple loop from The Jackson 5’s ‘Don’t Let Your Baby Catch You’. Further highlights include ‘All That I’ve Got’ , with Ghostface making an appearance, ‘Higher’, and, of course, the final track, ‘Man in the Mirror’.

And the skits, which I find can be to the detriment of the album, are hilarious! Ingenious use of outtakes and samples from interviews and studio sessions result in entertaining interactions between ‘Fest and MJ, including a priceless moment where Jacko appears to have farted in the studio. Ronson himself can’t resist, dropping a skit where MJ mimics and laughs at his English accent, as the Producer try’s to interview him.

As far as mixtapes go, this has got to be my all-time favourite, and definitely in my top couple of albums for the year so far. Click here to download and enjoy

That’s it for now, keep your eyes peeled for the next edition of Ya Heard? soon.

…Crack

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Sweatshop Union – Water Street

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008 | News | 1 Comment
Sweatshop Union - Water Street

After rocking crowds across North-America on tour for months, award winning Canadian Hip hop collective Sweatshop Union are about to release their fourth album ‘Water Street’. The group’s socially conscious, politically infused lyrics cover topics from the “War on Terror” to the plight of the economically disadvantaged, combined with sweet sounding mellow highly musical beats. Formed in 2000 when four politically-minded Vancouver based rap acts (including Innocent Bystanders) and a solo artist pooled resources, they put out their debut album “Local 604″ in late 2002. Since then they have gone on to sell tens of thousands of albums worldwide, and win many Canadian and International hip hop awards and tour extensively with acts like Swollen Members and Jurassic 5. The band states on their website that they intend to “delivery a deeper more meaningful sound into the conscious of the masses” in a time when “hip hop music remains soulless and simplistic in the eyes of the mainstream”.


Sweatshop Union – Try

The groups official website with its looped sounds, odd sheep logos and animations is worth a look, you can listen to two tracks off the new album, including “Itchy Rock” an instrumental scratch track and the infectious new single “Gold Rush” which rallies against aspects of our consumer culture that encourages obsessions with expensive name brand clothing. So not only can you listen to some really nice melodic tunes and smooth independent beats; you can think about how the world is controlled by economic interests that use commercial hip hop to promote unnecessary consumption. But you don’t have to.

New Sweatshop album dropping soon!

You can check out more from Sweatshop Union at:

www.sweatshopunion.com
www.myspace.com/mysweatshopunion
…Yossarian

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